Molly Harmon has two goals for this weekend: win more state swimming medals and show her younger Lee’s Summit West teammates how it’s done.
Harmon is one of eight Titans entered in the Class 2 girls’ state swim meet, which takes place Friday and Saturday at the St. Peters Rec-Plex in suburban St. Louis. It’s a return trip for Harmon, who placed eighth last year in the 100-yard breaststroke.
That octet includes some state newbies, so Harmon has taken it upon herself to get them acclimated to this level of competition.
“We just had a talk before practice and Molly said she wants to show the younger ones what it’s like and encourage them to know how far they can go,” West coach Colleen Gibler said Feb. 13 during a workout at the LS R-7 Aquatics Center. “So, we do have that leadership.”
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Harmon, a junior, was the only Titans swimmer to make a championship final last season. She’s seeded fourth this year in the 100 breaststroke (personal-best time 1 minute, 7.12 seconds), which she won two weeks ago at the Suburban Gold Conference meet. She’s also entered in the 50 freestyle.
“She’ll be very disappointed if she’s not in the top eight,” Gibler said.
Gibler also sees possible top-eight finishes from junior Faith Lilly in the 100 backstroke and sophomore Savannah Meyer in the 100 butterfly if everything plays out right.
Meyer, who also will race the 200 individual medley, and Lilly made it to state last year as did junior Isabelle Schnelle, who is entered in the 50 freestyle.
West also aims to place high in two of the three relays. Harmon, Meyer, Schnelle and freshman Peyton Easley make up a 200 freestyle relay team that’s seeded sixth. The Titans’ 200 medley relay — Harmon, Meyer, Lilly and Easley — is seeded seventh.
West’s state contingent also includes freshman Neena Lorenz and sophomore McKenna Butler, who are entered in the 400 freestyle relay along with Lilly and Schnelle, as well as diver Delaney Lamb.
Gibler doesn’t expect this group to contend for a team title, but she’s fine with that and points to the Titans’ promising future.
“None of these girls go away; they all come back,” Gibler said. “Next year, we should see three relays in the finals and six or seven individuals. The future looks bright.”
Lee’s Summit has seven swimmers entered in five individual events and all three relays.
The busiest Tigers will be senior Caroline Franciskato, who will swim the 500 and 200 freestyles along with the 200 and 400 freestyle relays, and freshman Mallory Butler, who’s in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke as well as the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay.
Junior Stephanie Janczewski will race the 100 backstroke and two relays for the Tigers. Junior Sarah Fletcher, sophomore Kate Wissel, junior Delaney Butler and freshman Emily Williams are on the relay teams.
Lee’s Summit North has eight entries, including seniors Amanda Binger and Cassie Nanninga; junior Hayden Bentley, sophomore Haylee Martin and freshmen Morgan Andersen, Kelly Connolly, Macie Menges and Maggie Phillips.
Sophomore Anne McCord and freshmen Annica Valmassei will represent the Broncos in 1-meter diving.